With the elections in The United States Of America scheduled to be held later this year, the FCC, America’s primary communications regulator, is gearing up to face the barrage of activities it will have to oversee during and after the elections.
Commercial broadcasters can be expected to rake in huge earnings this year, thanks to the election activities each political party is preparing to undertake. This makes it even more imperative for neutral organizations like the FCC to oversee any and all activities undertaken in this regard. This will ensure that there is a better chance of fair-play and no scope for underhand tactics that might be employed by candidates or political parties desiring to gain an edge over the competition. The FCC enjoys the right to enforce stringent rules, the non-compliance of which could attract penal action.
According to FCC rules, all legally qualified candidates running for elective office, must be given equal opportunities and treated with impartiality by all broadcasting agencies. All candidates and their opponents are eligible to use the services of the broadcast station at the same prescribed rates. Qualified and running candidates can pay the lowest unit rate charge or LUC to the broadcaster. These charges are applicable 45 days before the state primary elections, and 60 days before the general elections. In order to avail the broadcast station’s lowest unit charge, The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act-2002 (BCRA) requires candidates to supply a certificate agreeing not to malign or directly refer to opposing candidates.
Federal candidates must have access to equal amounts of air-time. The broadcaster will have to ensure that enough time is available at hand to give both parties an equal opportunity to present its policies to the public.
A candidate has the right to purchase advertisements. For television, the advertisement must comprise of a photograph of the candidate, his/her signed approval and the sponsor’s name.